By: Melissa Moreno
With the Fourth of July quickly approaching, the topic of independence is sure to be discussed. The Cambridge Dictionary defines independence as:
The word has many meanings and connects with people for different reasons. In a political sense, the word has implications that a country or group of people are receiving freedom from a government or another country. We have seen this happen several times throughout history, with one of the most significant occurrences happening when the 13 Colonies declared independence from Great Britain in 1776 - thus the beginning of the Fourth of July celebration.
The second meaning has more personal and emotional implications that are symbolic of an individual's complete freedom. Someone who has independence can be who they are, say what they want to say, do what they want to do and believe what they want without the influence or command of someone else.
As someone who has a background and understanding of the significance of both implications of the word, I can truly say that independence is something that has affected my life from before the time I was born up until this very day. My family came to this country as immigrants from Colombia to try to build a better life for their children and to give them the independence that they deserved. Not a day passes by that I am not thankful for everything that my grandparents and parents have done to be able to provide me with the opportunity to be independent and build the life that I want in this country.
Valentina Betancur, a fundraising intern here at CBOB, and her family came to the United States after living in Medellín, Colombia.
“Independence to me means having the freedom and the ability to take steps to better your future,” Betancur said. “In Colombia, my family was never been well off - even though most of us are highly educated. The opportunities just weren’t there and that’s why we moved to the United States. Here, we are given a chance; a chance to have a better education; a chance to have a better job. Here, we are given the chance for freedom and independence.”
Children Beyond Our Borders, Inc. was founded on the mission to provide opportunity and education to children in nations with internal conflict. In doing so, our hope is that these children can have the independence and freedom to achieve their dreams. CBOB combines the word's political and personal implications to allow children to find an outlet outside of their nation’s conflict that can give them a way to live their life free of influence and pressure.
We hope you have a great Fourth of July and have fun celebrating this nation’s Independence Day! Stay safe!